It’s true, not everyone can travel.

“What?!” you say, “I thought that’s the whole point?  Blogging to show the world that anyone and any family can manage a life of excitement and travel adventures?”

No, the truth is that the majority of people in the world will never have the opportunity to travel beyond their neighboring city or village, not to mention their neighboring state or country.  There are some situations that may disqualify you from traveling, or at least make it a lot more difficult for you to manage a life of travel:

-You make less than $1 a day

-You don’t know how to read or speak

-You are on life-support

I’m sure there are a few other factors that may make you disqualified for travel…but whenever I was tempted to write something like “you don’t have legs”, I was reminded that there are certainly people out there that are traveling with many physical or financial challenges–and that hasn’t stopped them.

Okay, now it sounds like almost anyone CAN travel.

But the real question is…does the world want YOU as a traveler?

Should you be a representative of the elite travelers of the world?  Maybe not?

First…check to see if any of these apply to you:

-You believe that your way is the right way, and the only way.

-You believe that toilet paper should only be flushed down a toilet. Anything else is “icky!”

-You believe that french fries and chicken nuggets are an absolute dietary necessity.

-You want your children to never see poverty.

-Your hotel needs to come with a toilet seat and hot water.

-You think everyone should speak English.

-You think that an all-inclusive resort is truly “experiencing” a locale.

If any of these apply to you, please do us all a favor and travel only through the Discovery Channel. We don’t need any more privileged travelers out there jeering at the locals throughout the world, undermining their culture and ancient knowledge, and acting holier-than-thou.

Hopefully you can say, “these don’t apply to me!”

I realize it’s still likely you might be thinking, “I don’t have the money or flexibility to travel!”

Stop for a minute, and let’s get realistic. Are you reading this on a computer YOU own (or your credit card owns)?  If so, this immediately makes you more qualified to travel than a HUGE percentage of the world population.

You have been given educational opportunities that others can only dream of, and you’ve lived in a land of abundance that has told you that you can become anything you want. ANYTHING.

Do you realize how freakin’ blessed you are?!!

The problem is…traveling families like ours are constantly bombarded with condescending comments from others, and we get a bit annoyed hearing how “lucky” we are, how others “wish” they could do it, and how they simply “can’t afford” to travel as much as we do.  We look at these people and try to prevent ourselves from rolling our eyes.

FACT: You do not have to be rich or independently wealthy to travel the world.  Many families travel the world for less than $30,000 a year. When’s the last time your family’s expenditures were that low?

FACT: Funding your travels takes creativity. Obviously, going to a 9-5 hour job is not going to allow you to take a paid vacation for 1 year or more. Many traveling families are headed up by entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to try something new and difficult, and they’re also not afraid to fail before succeeding.

FACT: Traveling is a trade-off. Many travelers give up that”secure” bank-owned home, so they can experience the world, receive life-long lessons, and show their children the various ways people live throughout the world.

FACT: If “wishers” quit consuming new electronics, eating out weekly, driving fancy cars, and redecorating/remodeling their homes for every season….they would magically FIND that extra money to travel more. MUCH more.

FACT: Traveling families are flexible. They do not require 5-star hotels, American-quality restaurants, and expensive tours to prove that they have truly experienced a locale. They often “live like locals”.

FACT: Traveling is a job, too. Despite all of its beauty, it’s not all fun-and-games day in and day out. It often includes sickness, fights, restlessness, and weariness…just like “normal” life, elsewhere.

In general, traveling is not for sissies.

Chances are, YOU can do it, but you first have to be willing to change your priorities.

So, stop making excuses for yourself, and make it happen!!

And while you’re getting prepared and motivated, check out these other fantastic posts by Traveling Families about almost anyone can travel!

Only the Very Special, Lucky, Rich, and Perfect (Like Me) Can Travel – Nomadic Family

Anyone can travel – Bohemian Travelers

Diet shouldn’t stop you from travelling - Livin’ on the Road

Our Path to Becoming Lucky Enough to Travel – A King’s Life

If Anyone Can Travel Why Don’t You? –  Walkingon Travels

Anyone can do this! – Experiential Family

You Have to Be Special Like Us to Travel – Discover Share Inspire

True Story: Single mother from Bushwick, Brooklyn, funds long-term trip without having to sell a kidney – Break Out of Bushwick

Anyone Can Travel, Just Let Go – Minor Diversion

Don’t Be Jealous of Our Travels! Be Happy for Us and Know That You Can Make it Happen Too! – Grow in Grace Life

Anyone Can Travel…Just Find Your Way – Experiential Family

Pity, Envy, and why anyone can travel - Family Trek

Travel – Possible? – Wandering Photographer

Even Solo Mamas on Government Handouts Can Travel – Solo Mama Travels

A Family Travel Lifestyle – Little Aussie Travelers

19 Responses to “Not Everyone Can Travel”

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like all those list of facts..and the statement about reading this on a computer that you own. We do have so much and it’s good to see that much of the world does not have most of the things that wealthy westerners have. Love that photo too !,
    Susan

  3. So those all-inclusive resorts aren’t representative of the locales?

    I tell this story all the time, but a while back I was having dinner with an affluent person wh’d just returned from India. He talked about the trip, about the gated hotel they stayed in that had them far removed from the streets. He talked about the sedan that drove them wherever they wanted to go. He was totally removed. I finally asked him why he hadn’t just driven an hour and a half (instead of flying around the world) to stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and gone out to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Would have basically been the same experience.

    • WOWW!! Yes, I feel the same way about Hawaii, Mexico, etc. Why not just stay home and check into the fancy hotel? Because then you couldn’t claim to be a world traveler? Resorts have this amazing ability to suck all of the life and culture out of a location. I can’t say it’s terrible to experience luxury and pleasure…but at the expense of an amazing cultural experience? Yeah…that’s sad!

  4. Great post! It is true a lot of people should not be traveling! I love how you listed out some of the facts about this lifestyle. It is not all fun and games that id for sure. But I think travelers learn to take the good with the bad and vice versa. We realize that even the hard things we go through are part of the experience and we love them all!

  5. You speak so eloquently of how I feel about my travels. As my kids were growing up in Topeka we were still able to show them the world and now they are all experiencing it on their own with no fear. Eric has applied for a job in Bangladesh and Heidi is hoping to get on as a teacher over here in Kuwait. I feel so blessed to have been given the same experience myself growing up in the Army and I am forever grateful to my parents. You have grown into an incredible young woman, Alissa, and I am honored to know you. I truly enjoy reading about your journey and will continue to do so! Be safe and enjoy!!! Beth

    • Awe, shucks, Beth! It is fun to see your adventures and where all of your kids have wandered across the globe! How many of my friend’s parents have picked up and moved to a different country for the heck of it? Umm….1? You!! I had no idea you were a military brat (heehee), and now I know perhaps where some of your exercise discipline comes from!! Speaking of a great example…!!!!! Thanks for flattering me by reading my blog, and I also look forward to keeping up with you and your discoveries!!!

      • Forgot to tell you I’m taking Ami on a 14 day trek to the Basecamp of Mt. Everest in June for her 30th birthday :) Pretty crazy….she is coming to Kuwait June 14th to experience the culture here first. I love sharing and experiencing new cultures with all of my kids. So wonderful to see you doing the same!

        • Wow–that’s AWESOME!!! What an experience for both of you! (You haven’t been there before, have you?)
          Are you going to be completing your year with Kuwait and moving on, or staying longer? Did you ever see my post about this awesome family? http://familyonbikes.org/store/index.htm
          Their book, “What Were We Thinking?” is SUCH a great read, and I’m sure something you would enjoy! Their experiences are absurd!!

  6. “If “wishers” quit consuming new electronics, eating out weekly, driving fancy cars, and redecorating/remodeling their homes for every season….they would magically FIND that extra money to travel more. MUCH more.”

    Love it! :)

    • Haahaa! Yup….it seems to be one of the underlying themes of the true reasons people cannot seem to save more money and spend less!

      • You assume that all wishers are as privileged as you. Most privileged travelers (those whose passports allow them to travel freely to over 150 countries) congratulate themselves too much saying they can travel the world because they made wise choices and simplified their lives. Guess what? Their simple lives are still luxurious to third world citizens whose passports only allow travel to a few nearby or war-torn countries. Their wise choices like trading five star hotels for couchsurfing, eating street food, and booking discounted tickets ARE DEFAULT to the average third world citizen yet why are “WISHERS” like me still unable to experience the freedom they do? They say everyone can travel.. they love to repeat that if there’s a will there’s a way…and all other mindless catchphrases. I’d like to say to them: Hey you enlightened-and-aware-individual-because-you’ve-been-to-a-lot-of-places-and-therefore-are-the-ultimate-authority-on-human-experience, tell that to a Filipino tricycle driver, laborer, even most office workers who can’t even afford to enjoy their own boracay, their own batanes, their own el nido! Well, unless you were only talking about people with the same privileges as you which makes you all the more offensive. Yes you made choices allowing you to travel but that is only made possible by pure luck on your part for being born or nationalized in a first world country. Some acknowledgement of this huge gap between us and these lucky wanderers would be nice. To deny that is just plain ignorance and insensitivity which are not traits of a cultured individual. So much for travel.

        • Agreed, Lina. I certainly wrote the post with the assumption that if my readers are on their home-owned computer, reading blog posts about traveling, they likely are as privileged as me. No doubt I know what a rare privilege that is. There are so many friends I’ve made along the way who I wish I could stay in touch with–but without computers or smart phones or any computer access (or skills!), for that matter—I will likely never be able to contact them again. It hurts my heart to think that those friendships were made and are now just a ghost of a memory. Forget the fact that they will never be able to ride in a plane and discover a new culture–the truth is that most days they don’t have the bus fare to the other side of town. I worry their children will not even have the privilege of an education past the 6th grade.

          But most of those friends don’t read my blog. They’re working a lot harder than I am–and living on a lot less money–and reading blogs about traveling is certainly not part of their reality.

          I won the birth lottery. I know this. And any person who has won the birth lottery, and does not know it, is ignorant. Not all my friends are this privileged, and it’s unfair to suggest that all are.

          AGREED.

  7. I guess that anyone can travel, its just a matter of finding out How, Why, Where and when.
    But like you said, those that want the 5 star treatment should maybe stay at home – and those that want adventure should just go for it.
    Its a matter of making it happen, instead of wishing it could happen.
    Cheers
    Lisa

  8. The toilet seat comment is too funny – made me realize how far our family has come. Our 3 year old refused to use the Asian hole-in-the-ground toilets during the first few months of our trip and now she actually prefers them to the regular Western ones! Yes, not everyone should travel, but your article sheds a great perspective one why those who want to should.

    • Haha…that’s funny that your 3 year old prefers the hole! It IS all a matter of perspective, right? My parents lived in China for awhile, and told us that they were so excited when they found a Western toilet (this is pre-Olympics, when it was rarer)! The funny thing was that the toilet seat had footprints on it! So…I guess that person preferred the squatting, too! ;-)

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